Two custom builders collaborate on an express-style, outboard-powered sportfish

Maverick Saunders 39 Walkaround

Maverick Yachts Costa Rica and Saunders Yachtworks team up to enter the outboard market.

Maverick Saunders 39 Walkaround

Maverick Saunders 39 Walkaround

A good way to gauge the quality, robustness and seakeeping ability of just about any sportfishing boat, I’d say, would be to put her into the charter trade. Certainly, there are plenty of folks around these days who respect the things they borrow. But then again, there are at least a few who, figuratively speaking, opt to ride somebody else’s horse hard, put the creature away wet and then bitterly complain about the whole experience. A charter outfit—and the vessels it charters—cater to both types.

Two years ago, John Fitzgerald, president of Saunders Yachtworks of Gulf Shores, Alabama, headed down to Costa Rica to check out the sportfishing scene there. And during his trip, he encountered several cold-molded vessels that tickled his fancy. Maverick Costa Rica was chartering them out of Los Sueños Resort and Marina and building them in nearby Playa Herradura. Fitzgerald especially favored a 36-foot walkaround inboard. Not only was she pretty, she was seemingly tougher than nails. Big seas? Rough usage? Day after day? No problem.

Maverick Saunders 39 Walkaround

Maverick Saunders 39 Walkaround

“So I decided to visit the Maverick plant,” Fitzgerald explained, “and the guys there told me they were looking for a way to sell boats in the United States. And since outboards are so popular these days, we concluded that, if we had the 36 Walkaround’s hull re-designed to accommodate a major shift in engine weight, we could switch from inboards to outboards and have ourselves a very pretty, durable, safe boat for the stateside market. You know, some of these boats are doing 200 charter trips a year. In big water. In all kinds of weather. And they’re doing fine.”

Work began on the Maverick Saunders 39 Walkaround—the extra 3 feet reflects a bracket and three, 300-hp Yamaha F300s—after a handshake deal was struck. Maverick would cold mold the vessel in Costa Rica using multiple layers of laurel blanco (a Mexican hardwood) with Awlgrip inside and out. Saunders would handle electrical, plumbing and rigging aspects stateside.

01-Maverick 39 Side Profile_Color

All the fish-fighting essentials would be incorporated. There’d be salt- and freshwater washdowns in the cockpit, along with an insulated fishbox, livewell and rod holders. There’d also be a marlin tower with an upper steering station and outriggers and a cockpit sole and covering boards of Burmese teak. And at least on Hull No. 1, there’d be a few extras too, including a Seakeeper, a 7-kW generator, a Garmin electronics package and a Helm Master joystick. Such extras, however, were not to sidetrack the charter boat ethic that had initially inspired the project.

“We’re shooting for a whole line of sportfishing yachts if this one turns out to be a success,” Fitzgerald said at press time. “Maverick Costa Rica is capable of building into the 50-foot range, so that’s our cutoff at this point. We’re hoping to debut the boat at the Ft. Lauderdale boat show. And work is going pretty smoothly right now.”

04-Maverick 39 layout
03-Maverick 39 layout

This article originally appeared in the November 2019 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.

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